Iran's Supreme Leader: "There Will Be No Talks With The US At Any Level"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 16:45
Iran's Supreme Leader: "There Will Be No Talks With The US At Any Level"

Ending all speculation about the possibility of a meeting between President Trump and the Iranian leadership, something President Trump has repeatedly said he'd be open to, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced on Tuesday that "there will be no talks with the US at any level" unless Washington agreed to return to the Iran deal, according to the Associated Press

Iranian state TV quoted Khamenei, who said this is the position of the country's leadership and that "all officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe" this.

Khamenei accused the US of trying to prove that its "maximum pressure policy" against Iran is successful by finally getting the Iranians to agree to talks, something they have been reluctant to do since Trump took office.

"In return, we have to prove that the policy is not worth a penny for the Iranian nation," Khamenei said. "That’s why all Iranian officials, from the president and the foreign minister to all others have announced that we do not negotiate (with the U.S.) either bilaterally or multilaterally."

However, the leader reiterated Iran’s stance that if the US returns to the nuclear deal, then Tehran would consider negotiations.

"Otherwise, no talks will happen...with the Americans," he said."Neither in New York nor anywhere" else.

As for Trump denying reports that he had proposed a "no conditions" meeting with Iran:

"Sometimes they say negotiations without any precondition and sometimes with 12 conditions," the Ayatollah added. "Such statements either come from their disheveled policies or are a ploy to confuse the other side."

As tensions with the Iranians flared once again following this weekend's devastating attack on important Saudi Arabian oil facilities, rumors about a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, during the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting later this month in New York have been circulating. Particularly after the ouster of John Bolton, an Iran hawk who was hated by Tehran, some analysts thought face-to-face talks might finally be possible.

Trump said Monday that it "looks" like Iran was behind the explosive attack on the Saudi oil-processing facilities, though he added that the US wasn't at the point of military retaliation. Tehran has denied any responsibility for the attacks. The Saudi government has called the attack an "unprecedented act of aggression and sabotage" - but has stopped short of blaming the Iranians.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attacks, appear to have used multiple cruise missiles and several drones to lay waste to KSA's Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key oil field. Then again, experts say whoever planned the attack appears to have had knowledge about which facilities to hit.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 05:45 Tags Politics

Exposing The ECB's Beggar-Thy-Trump Strategy

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 16:00
Exposing The ECB's Beggar-Thy-Trump Strategy

Authored by Hans-Werner Sinn via Project Syndicate,

The European Central Bank's decision to cut interest rates still further and launch another round of quantitative easing raises serious concerns about its internal decision-making process. The ECB is pursuing an exchange-rate policy in all but name, thus putting Europe on a collision course with the Trump administration.

On September 12, the European Central Bank decided to launch yet another asset-purchase program, with plans to buy €20 billion ($22 billion) in new securities per month for an indefinite period of time, using the same structure as it has in the past. The decision was not made unanimously: the GermanFrenchDutchAustrian, and Estonian members of the ECB council have all voiced fierce opposition to further quantitative easing (QE).

ECB President Mario Draghi claims that the majority in favor of further loosening was so large that it was unnecessary even to count the votes. Never mind that the countries opposing the decision hold 56% of the ECB’s paid-in equity capital and account for 60% of eurozone output. Counting their compatriots on the ECB Governing Council, however, they have only seven out of 25 potential votes (subject to a rotating limitation). Draghi did have a majority, then, but it represented a very clear minority of the ECB’s liable capital. This raises considerable concerns about the Governing Council’s decision-making process.

Such concerns are all the more justified considering that US President Donald Trump has been complaining loudly about the implied exchange-rate policy stemming from ECB asset purchases. He has a point. Draghi, of course, insists that the ECB does not “target” the exchange rate. While that may be true, it is beside the point. By purchasing long-term securities, eurozone central banks will once again trigger a currency devaluation. Indeed, it is precisely this effect that likely plays the dominant role in stimulating economic activity.

The problem, of course, is that by stimulating exports and curbing imports, the policy comes at the expense of other countries. Worse, other stimulus effects of interest-rate reductions are rather limited, particularly with respect to investment. There is even reason to fear – as Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing does – that the ECB’s ongoing rate reductions had a detrimental effect on the banking system, thereby putting the credit supply at risk.

The economic mechanism by which the ECB achieves devaluation was explained decades ago by the so-called asset approach. If European central banks purchase European securities with freshly printed money, they distort the international portfolio equilibrium with regard to domestic and foreign currencies and interest-bearing assets, and a currency devaluation is needed to rebalance it. Some of the sellers will offer euros on the currency markets, in order to purchase non-European securities. And that will put downward pressure on the euro exchange rate. Foreign sellers will trade in their own assets for European securities only when the euro exchange rate is lower. The new international portfolio equilibrium ushered in by the ECB is accompanied by euro depreciation.

During the ECB’s first round of QE, the portfolio shifts were clearly noticeable among sellers of government bonds, as the ECB itself has documented. Those sellers mainly used the proceeds to purchase US Treasury bonds, because they wanted to stay within the same asset class. US sellers, on the other hand, used the euros they received to purchase European corporate assets, which had become cheaper, owing to the fall in the euro exchange rate.

In the context of the ECB’s first large asset-purchase program, the euro’s exchange rate fell by around a quarter against the dollar between mid-2014 and January 2015, when the program was formally launched, because traders generally assumed that the program would happen and acted accordingly. Italian banks, in particular, got a head start in buying up European securities worldwide, by tapping (disproportionately) into funds from the targeted longer-term financing operations (TLTRO) program that the ECB had launched in June 2014.

The ECB vehemently denies that it pursues an exchange-rate policy, because it knows that doing so falls well outside its mandate. But there is simply no denying that its policy comes at the expense of Europe’s trading partners. The situation is eerily reminiscent of the competitive devaluations of the 1930s.

When the US Federal Reserve, following in the footsteps of the Bank of Japan, pursued a similar policy some years ago, then-Fed Chair Ben Bernanke openly acknowledged the exchange-rate effects of QE, although he said that it was not quite clear how they came about. When the Europeans later followed suit with their own QE program, they were, in a manner of speaking, taking their allotted swig from the bottle.

The Trump administration knows all of this, as does everybody else. But Trump has warned Europe repeatedly not to get greedy. To avoid becoming the “beggared” neighbor, he continues to hold out the threat of trade sanctions.

Europe therefore has a choice. It can continue to allow the ECB Governing Council to pursue its own (implicit) exchange-rate policy, or it can decide that the looming trade conflict with America belongs in the hands of democratically controlled institutions. The central banks are out of their league on this one.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 05:00 Tags Business Finance

Putin Trolls Saudis, Offers To Sell Them Same Missiles He Already Sold To Iran

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 15:15
Putin Trolls Saudis, Offers To Sell Them Same Missiles He Already Sold To Iran

Serious offer or some bold high level trolling? 

President Vladimir Putin said while meeting with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Ankara Monday to discuss Syria that the "smart decision" for the Saudis would be to purchase Russia's most advanced anti-air defense system, the S-400 Triumph

“Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia,” Putin told reporters in Ankara“These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.”

Russia has been delivering S-400 components to Ankara despite US threats and warnings, via the AP.

As geopolitical analysis blog Moon of Alabama has observed, "Saudi Arabia has no defenses against this kind of attack," and it's also the case that, "The U.S. has no system that could be used for that purpose."

Thus it remains that the Saudis could only possibly turn to Russia to defend against small drones that can easily evade and penetrate most radar defense systems out there.

As the Moon of Alabama analysis concludes, "It would be extremely costly, and still insufficient, to protect all of the Saudi's vital facilities from similar swarm attacks."

When we started the drone war phase I remember thinking what happens when adversaries start deploying drones against us & allies? Stunning we didn't develop defensive systems. But cowboys like playing offense, being on the attack, blowing shit up. Defense by contrast is boring.

— Joanne Leon (@joanneleon) September 15, 2019

Putin dropped the hint about the Saudis acquiring the S-400 when asked point blank about the early Saturday major drone attack on the Aramco facilities, citing the need for Riyadh to protect its oil infrastructure. Judging by Rouhani's reaction, Putin's proposal was rather "modest."

The level of trolling of Putin reaches a new high, joking that #SaudiArabia should buy the same S-300 anti-missile defence system that Moscow already sold to Tehran (amid the laughter of Iranian officials, including President Rouhani) | #OOTT #oil #Iran #Russia

— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) September 16, 2019

Interestingly, he along with the other two leaders meeting in Ankara this week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani  were all in agreement that the US-Saudi coalition bombing campaign and war on Yemen must be brought to a close as soon as possible.  

Rouhani, for his part, said the attack on Aramco facilities was a reciprocal measure by "Yemeni people" to "aggression against Yemen for years."

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 04:15 Tags Politics

Ex-Spy Chief Says Merkel's Open Border Policy Created "Security Crisis" For Germany

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 14:30
Ex-Spy Chief Says Merkel's Open Border Policy Created "Security Crisis" For Germany

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

The former director of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has accused Angela Merkel of creating a “security crisis” in Germany as a result of her open border refugee policy.

Speaking to the Sunday Express on a brief visit to the UK, Dr August Hanning said the German chancellor had displayed “political weakness” by flip flopping between denying the severity of the problem and admitting it was a bad decision.

“We have seen the consequences of this decision in terms of German public opinion and internal security – we experience problems very day,” he said.

“We have criminals, terrorist suspects and people who use multiple identities. Those who carried out the Berlin attacks used 12 different identities,” added Hanning.

“While things are tighter today, we still have 300,000 people in Germany of whose identities we cannot be sure. That’s a massive security risk,” he warned.

After Merkel abolished normal border controls back in 2015, Germany took in over 1.5 million migrants from affected countries in a single year.

According to the German government’s own statistics, violent crime in Germany rose by 10 per cent between 2015 and 2016, when the country began accepting large numbers of migrants, many of them young men. More than 90 per cent of the rise was attributable to young male “refugees”.

“Young male refugees in Germany got the blame…. for most of a two-year increase in violent crime,” reported Reuters.

Earlier this summer, a public swimming pool in Dusseldorf, Germany had to be closed twice after hundreds of male migrants harassed a family.

As we document in the video below, Germans were subjected to a re-education campaign to encourage them to accept their new reality rather than the government actually addressing their concerns about mass migration.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 03:30 Tags Social Issues Politics

Edward Snowden Implores Macron To Grant French Asylum

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 13:45
Edward Snowden Implores Macron To Grant French Asylum

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has called on French President and former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron to grant him political asylum from the United States. 

Speaking with France's Inter radio on Monday as part of a press junket to promote his new memoir, the former NSA contractor said "Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act," adding "Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the United States." 

"I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense," Snowden told CBS This Morning

"Again, I'm not asking for a parade. I'm not asking for a pardon. I'm not asking for a pass. What I'm asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don't want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong. The government wants to have a different kind of trial. They want to use special procedures they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what's going on. And, essentially, the most important fact to the government and this is the thing we have a point of contention on, is that they do not want the jury to be able to consider the motivations. Why I did what I did. Was it better for the United States? Did it benefit us or did it cause harm? They don't want the jury to consider that at all. They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong. And I'm sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial," Snowden told CBS

The NSA, meanwhile, told CBS: "Edward Snowden violated his lifetime obligation to protect classified information and betrayed the trust of his coworkers and the American people."

In 2013 Snowden unsuccessfully applied for asylum in France under former President Francois Hollande, along with several other countries, after he released a trove of classified US information shedding light on America's mass surveillance apparatus - including unprecedented court-approved access used by the government to collect data on over 120 million phone calls between ordinary Americans.

Snowden also leaked the NSA's top-secret black budget to the Washington Post, while also revealing that the NSA had been paying private US tech companies for clandestine access to their networks. 

Snowden shares his life story in his new memoir, "Permanent Record," set to be released on Tuesday in around 20 countries - including France. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 02:45

A View Of The U.S. From Across The Atlantic

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 13:00
A View Of The U.S. From Across The Atlantic

Authored by Andrew Asjh via The Gatestone Institute,

  • My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months.

  • Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

  • The only thing that has not changed is the Democrats' make-believe view that President Trump and the Russians were somehow trying to rig the election, when it was, in fact, they themselves who were doing that.

Before the advent of online news, residents of the UK had to rely on the British press to report on the minutiae of the American political system -- something that didn't happen all that often. In politics what went on in the USA, stayed in the USA, most of it at least. Beyond a major political upheaval, or the swearing in of a new president, news reportage was more concerned with the cut and thrust of our own routine domestic politics.

Only the bickering between the Democrats and Republicans rang a familiar note, mirroring as it did, our British Punch and Judy stereotype, with the stuffy old Tories on one side, and the loony-left Labour on the other.

By 2008, along with the advent of social media, and a growing awareness of international affairs, it became increasingly impossible not to notice the apparently out of proportion intensity driving the Democrat-Republican voter divide. Heralded in by the arrival of the US's first president "of colour", Barack Obama, and coinciding with the rising usage of Twitter and Facebook, the "Left" seemed to jump at the chance of embracing the one-dimensional limitations of an "echo chamber". The "echo-chamber" served not only to widen the chasm between left and right, but -- even to the outsider -- noticeably amplified the animosity between the two sides. Compared to the almost polite political rivalry between voters and parties in Britain, the political division in the US began looking distinctly engineered.

My American friends, in an effort to help me try and understand their conclusions, sent a raft of articles from the US mainstream media, which, in their bias, displayed the same lack of integrity as my friends'. Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

Then, along came the 2016 election and the arrival of presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Whilst the UK was not looking, war seemed to have broken out. If I was not prepared forthrightly to dismiss Trump as the white supremacist he so obviously and professedly was, it was clear that if I was not careful, I would be tarred by the same brush.

My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months. The problem was, they never once articulated any of them. Their suspicions all appeared to be hysterical unfounded inferences.

The evident reluctance by left-wing media outlets to condemn a -- by now -- extremely guilty-looking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now seemed unfair. Much of the media seemed all too happy to turn a blind eye to the Benghazi affair, her "unusual" email practices and other seemingly incriminating pranks. The media also seemed to ignore the treasure-trove of information on the suspect machinations of the DNC and its incumbents and other dubious goings on, including truncated FBI investigations, the "controversial" resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the sudden departure from CNN of Donna Brazile after having fed questions to Clinton prior to the televised presidential debates, and so on.

The potential skulduggery seemed never ending. How come my friends had never mentioned any of this? Surely, they knew? The echo chamber, it appeared, was hermetically sealed. Even then US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her "secret" meeting with former President Bill Clinton aboard the Justice Department's jet just before she was due to deliver her verdict on his wife, failed to raise an eyebrow. How was that possible?

One would never have known the depths of the corruption taking place right under everyone's noses, or indeed, the lengths to which their top brass representatives were willing to go to manipulate an election. It was not just a couple of dodgy individuals, working overtime for their own self-enrichment; there was a whole bunch of them at it. Worse, it seemed they had been doing it for a very long time -- and all of it under the auspices of their beloved president.

A hardened, contemptible cynic might even have thought that the 2016 presidential election result was meant to have been a foregone conclusion, with no suspicious activity ever exposed.

It was hard by now not to be intrigued by this murky, cloak and dagger world of deceit. The farther down the rabbit hole one looked in this saga, the harder it became not to surmise that, for all their faults, the Republican party, and in particular, Mr. Trump, were the "good guys." One half of the country was deliberately being pitted, with fake information, against the other. This division seems to be one that the mainstream media have, ever since, been trying to blame on Donald Trump, despite it clearly being a war that they themselves had cooked up.

As the story grows, and more of the players become exposed -- Andrew McCabeJames ComeyPeter StrzokLisa PageJohn BrennanJames Clapper, Rod RosensteinAndrew WeissmannSally YatesSamantha PowerSusan Rice, and even President Obama -- the list goes on and on -- my interest in US politics has soared to levels I never thought possible, and for all the wrong reasons. The only thing that has not changed is the Democrats' storybook view that President Trump and the Russians were somehow trying to rig the election, when it was, in fact, they themselves who were doing that.

When then President Obama was asked about the possibility of rigging the 2016 elections, he told then-candidate Trump to "stop whining":

"There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America's elections, in part because they are so decentralized. There is no evidence that that has happened in the past, or that there are instances that that could happen this time."

It then turned out that Secretary Clinton and the DNC had also been rigging the Democrats' presidential primaries and nomination process against Senator Bernie Sanders, as well.

After all that has emerged over the past couple of years, during investigation after investigation, it seems impossible that these officials could honestly be sincere. For now, I am not holding my breath that my friends on the left might one day wake up and do some research of their own; but as an impartial observer with no dog in this fight, I know which side I would rather back.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 02:00 Tags Politics

Escobar: We Are All Hostages Of 9/11

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 10:45
Escobar: We Are All Hostages Of 9/11

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Saker blog,

After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved...

Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is seen in a video taken at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al-Jazeera on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the US launched bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in its campaign against the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Praying for a Pearl

Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.

Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”

Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.

Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”

In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.

No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.

While NORAD sleeps

Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”

In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.

Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.

World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.

American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York. Photo: AFP / Set McAllister

By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.

‘Angel was next’

World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.

According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.

All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, left, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brief reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 8, 2001 following the US bombing raids on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 attacks. Photo: AFP / Luke Frazza

At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.

Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled:

“We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”

This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.

Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned, “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 23:45

Marshall Islands Creating New Cryptocurrency In Push To De-Dollarize  

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 10:25
Marshall Islands Creating New Cryptocurrency In Push To De-Dollarize  

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has been using the US dollar since 1979. But in a new Bloomberg report and a statement from a senior Marshall Islands official, that could all change as the country with a population of 75,000 could soon issue a sovereign currency in digital form – using blockchain technology.

David Paul, the environment minister and minister-in-assistance to the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, spoke last Wednesday at Invest: Asia 2019 conference in Singapore about a new blockchain-based national currency. 

"With the blockchain technology in place, we thought this was an opportune time to establish our own legal tender" and lessen the nation's dependence on the dollar, Paul said in an interview from the sidelines of the conference.

"As a small country it's going to be easier and faster for us to make decisions and respond to the market" as a digital coin is introduced.

Last year the Marshall Islands passed the Sovereign Currency Act, with the intentions of launching a new currency, the Marshallese sovereign (SOV), which will be used alongside the dollar using blockchain technology.

Paul said no launch date had been established for SOV, as compliance and regulatory issues are still being figured out, along with supervision from the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. 

The statement, published earlier this month, said the SOV has built-in compliance features and will expand "4% each year, following Milton Friedman's k% rule. New SOV will be automatically distributed to the currency holders and the decentralized entities securing the network. This means that we in government cannot modify the money supply, and we cannot manipulate the value of our currency by printing more money." 

The SOV won't precisely be a one-to-one ratio with the dollar; it'll first establish its liquidity and be market-based, Paul said in the interview.

Several known blockchain-based currencies have received a lot of press this summer. One being Facebook's digital coin Libra. The second is the People's Bank of China, suggesting in recent headlines that they're close to releasing a coin. And there was even talk from Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, who recently spoke about the idea of a global reserve currency using blockchain technology. 

Marshall Islands' effort to de-dollarize started after the terror attacks on Sept. 2001, Paul said, when the global money system endured new financial regulations that made transactions harder to perform.  

"Right now we have only one relationship with one correspondent bank, and if that's lost we would be cut off," Paul said, identifying First Hawaiian Inc. as that bank. "A correspondent banking relationship is commercial, and a nation being held hostage by a commercial relationship shouldn't be the case."

Paul said the dollar couldn't be removed entirely - but the SOV will give people an alternative. 

"We're committed to do it the right way," he said. "As long as we do it in a responsible manner it's going to withstand the test of time."

And already, in a decentralized manner, citizens in countries where their fiat has crashed, like Venezuela and Argentina, have started using cryptocurrencies. The trend is clear, and the 2020s will be a transformative period of new blockchain-based national currencies across the world as a shift towards de-dollarization will move into hyperdrive. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 23:25

Johnstone: How To Defeat The Empire

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 10:05
Johnstone: How To Defeat The Empire

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via,

One of the biggest and most consistent challenges of my young career so far has been finding ways to talk about solutions to our predicament in a way that people will truly hear. I talk about these solutions constantly, and some readers definitely get it, but others will see me going on and on about a grassroots revolution against the establishment narrative control machine and then say “Okay, but what do we do?” or “You talk about problems but never offer any solutions!”

Part of the difficulty is that I don’t talk much about the old attempts at solutions we’ve already tried that people have been conditioned to listen for. I don’t endorse politicians, I don’t advocate starting a new political party, I don’t support violent revolution, I don’t say that capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction and the proletariat will inevitably rise up against the bourgeoisie, and in general I don’t put much stock in the idea that our political systems are in and of themselves sufficient for addressing our biggest problems in any meaningful way.

What I do advocate, over and over and over again in as many different ways as I can come up with, is a decentralized guerrilla psywar against the institutions which enable the powerful to manipulate the way ordinary people think, act and vote.

I talk about narrative and propaganda all the time because they are the root of all our problems. As long as the plutocrat-controlled media are able to manufacture consent for the status quo upon which those plutocrats built their respective empires, there will never be the possibility of a successful revolution. People will never rebel against a system while they’re being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen.

Most people who want drastic systematic changes to the way power operates in our society utterly fail to take this into account. Most of them are aware to some extent that establishment propaganda is happening, but they fail to fully appreciate its effects, its power, and the fact that it’s continually getting more and more sophisticated. They continue to talk about the need for a particular political movement, for this or that new government policy, or even for a full-fledged revolution, without ever turning and squarely focusing on the elephant in the room that none of these things will ever happen as long as most people are successfully propagandized into being uninterested in making them happen.

It’s like trying to light a fire without first finding a solution to the problem that you’re standing under pouring rain. Certainly we can all agree that a fire is sorely needed because it’s cold and wet and miserable out here, but we’re never going to get one going while the kindling is getting soaked and we can’t even get a match lit. The first order of business must necessarily be to find a way to protect our fire-starting area from the downpour of establishment propaganda.

A decentralized guerrilla psywar against the propaganda machine is the best solution to this problem.

By psywar I mean a grassroots psychological war against the establishment propaganda machine with the goal of weakening public trust in pro-empire narratives. People only believe sources of information that they trust, and propaganda cannot operate without belief. Right now trust in the mass media is at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information is at an all-time high. Our psywar is fought with the goal of using our unprecedented ability to circulate information to continue to kill public trust in the mass media, not with lies and propaganda, but with truth. If we can expose journalistic malpractice and the glaring plot holes in establishment narratives about things like war, Julian Assange, Russia etc, we will make the mass media look less trustworthy.

By decentralized I mean we should each take responsibility for weakening public trust in the propaganda machine in our own way, rather than depending on centralized groups and organizations. The more centralized an operation is, the easier it is for establishment manipulators to infiltrate and undermine it. This doesn’t mean that organizing is bad, it just means a successful grassroots psywar won’t depend on it. If we’re each watching for opportunities to weaken public trust in the official narrative makers on our own personal time and in our own unique way using videos, blogs, tweets, art, paper literature, conversations and demonstrations, we’ll be far more effective.

By guerrilla I mean constantly attacking different fronts in different ways, never staying with the same line of attack for long enough to allow the propagandists to develop a counter-narrative. If they build up particularly strong armor around one area, put it aside and expose their lies on an entirely different front. The propagandists are lying constantly, so there is never any shortage of soft targets. The only consistency should be in attacking the propaganda machine as visibly as possible.

How To Get Your Dissident Ideas Heard In The New Media Environment

People have been asking me for some advice on how to get started doing what I do and building an audience, so here are a few tips I've picked up on this weird and wonderful journey.

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) August 29, 2018

As far as how to go about that attack, my best answer is that I’m leading by example here. I’m only ever doing the thing that I advocate, so if you want to know what I think we should all do, just watch what I do. I’m only ever using my own unique set of skills, knowledge and assets to attack the narrative control engine at whatever points I perceive to be the most vulnerable on a given day.

So do what I do, but keep in mind that each individual must sort out the particulars for themselves. We’ve each got our own strengths and abilities that we bring to the psywar: some of us are funny, some are artistic, some are really good at putting together information and presenting it in a particular format, some are good at finding and boosting other people’s high-quality attacks. Everyone brings something to the table. The important thing is to do whatever will draw the most public interest and attention to what you’re doing. Don’t shy away from speaking loud and shining bright.

It isn’t necessary to come up with your own complete How It Is narrative of exactly what is happening in our world right now; with the current degree of disinformation and government opacity that’s too difficult to do with any degree of completion anyway. All you need to do is wake people up in as many ways as possible to the fact that they’re being manipulated and deceived. Every newly opened pair of eyes makes a difference, and anything you can do to help facilitate that is energy well spent.

Without an effective propaganda machine, the empire cannot rule. Once we’ve crippled public trust in that machine, we’ll exist in a very different world already, and the next step will present itself from there. Until then, the attack on establishment propaganda should be our foremost priority.

*  *  *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 23:05 Tags Politics

Desperate Developer Offers Free Tesla With Purchase Of New Vancouver House

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 09:45
Desperate Developer Offers Free Tesla With Purchase Of New Vancouver House

Vancouver real estate has been one of the world's weakest luxury markets for the last 12 months. The city, once a mecca for foreign money and skyrocketing home prices, is now seeing real estate developers panic as homes go unsold, that is why one firm is now offering free Teslas to attract millennial homebuyers with the purchase of a new condominium and or townhouse in the Metro Vancouver area, reported CTV News Vancouver.

"For every home you purchase we're going to include a free Tesla," said Celia Chiu, sales manager for Viridian Homes.

Viridian is an upscale townhome community in South Surrey, British Columbia. It resides overlooking Nicomekl River, with over 57 townhomes in the neighborhood.

Developer Century Group has sold 47 out of the 57 homes, and the last remaining ten will be offered with a free Tesla Model 3.

Chiu said the unsold homes have been on the market for at least one year, but the community has "been around for two years and with a market having kind of a subtle stall, we wanted to take it to the next level" and attract millennials.

Each of the 57 homes has about 2,000 square feet of living space and a price tag of more than a million dollars.

The promotion kicked off last week and will continue through Oct. 21, or until the ten homes are sold.

"An incentive like this does have to have a wow factor," Chiu added.

Each home with the Tesla promotion will include a charging station in the garage, something Century Group president Sean Hodgins said in a press release reflects the project's "innovative design with energy-efficient capabilities."

With Metro Vancouver area home prices plunging -13.6% YoY in 2Q19, developers have been offering innovative promotions to attract millennial homebuyers.

Earlier this year, Woodbridge Home offered millennials free avocado toast for a year if they bought a home in the Kira development in West Coquitlam.

Wesgroup Properties offered young homebuyers a glass of wine per day for a year if they purchased a home at MODE in South Vancouver.

Real estate agent Gurdial Badh told CTV News Vancouver that the promotions are unique. "Either there are promotions or a price reduction to come in line with what the market is today," Badh said.

Since the market has been soft this year, prices have dropped, but sales have started to rise.

"We're seeing a lot more activity on the lower range and once the low range starts moving then obviously it will have an impact on the higher price range properties," said Badh.

To support the ailing real estate industry, Badh said the government needs to intervene and do more to assist first-time homebuyers.

"The main thing I think the government needs to do is help these first-time buyers," he said, with the hope the market will turn back up.

And when real estate developers overbuild into a market that is shifting lower, they will do pretty desperate things to attract new homebuyers, such as offering Teslas, and or even avocados and free wine.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 22:45 Tags Business Finance

Softbank Shares Tumble As Investors Waver Over New Fund After WeWork Farce

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 07:45
Softbank Shares Tumble As Investors Waver Over New Fund After WeWork Farce

Update (2020ET): Softbank shares are opening down around 5% on news about the nervousness of investors.

*  *  *

Update (1830ET): Masayoshi Son may have even bigger problems as it appears the WeWork IPO is at best delayed a month.

Which is understandable...

What will Masayoshi Son do now?

*  *  *

It seems finding a new multi-billion-dollar greater-fool is harder than you - or Masayoshi Son - thinks.

As Softbank scrambles to support/beg/ponzi its stake in WeWork within its massive Vision Fund, Bloomberg reports that the fund's biggest backers - largely middle-eastern sovereign wealth funds - are reconsidering how much to commit to its next investment vehicle. As Bloomberg details:

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the first fund’s biggest backer with $45 billion, is now only planning to reinvest profits from that vehicle into the second fund, according to people familiar with the talks.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which invested $15 billion, is considering paring its future commitment to below $10 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified in disclosing internal deliberations.

Any signs of doubt among these massive investors would make fundraising for SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son's Vision Fund 2.0 increasingly difficult.

However, before we write Masayohsi Son's epitaph, Bloomberg notes that a spokesman for the Saudi Arabian wealth fund declined to comment. Mubadala said discussions are continuing on whether or not any investment will take place. Additionally, a spokesman for Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund, said "the suggestion we have made any decisions on the size or timing of a potential investment is simply unfounded."

However, The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund wasn’t planning to be a significant investor in the new fund but may still make a more modest commitment.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:45 Tags Business Finance

Look To China To Learn About America

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 07:25
Look To China To Learn About America

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Given that the American people have been inculcated with the notion that they are a free people who live under limited government, whatever the federal government does is considered part and parcel of a free society. Sometimes it’s helpful to examine what totalitarian regimes do in order to bring a sense of reality to Americans.

Most every American would agree that China is not a free society. It is ruled by a brutal unelected communist totalitarian regime that will suppress any dissent that is considered to be potential threat to the regime’s monopoly control over the political process. So, we can safely use China as a model for a tyrannical regime.

A few weeks ago, 28-year-old Simon Cheng, a Chinese citizen from Hong Kong crossed the border and entered mainland China, where he was arrested. The Chinese authorities apparently suspect him of involvement in the recent protests that have occurred in Hong Kong. No one has heard from him since. He has disappeared into the bowels of China’s communist criminal justice system.

According to a New York Times article about the incident, “Under Chinese law, suspects held for administration detention can be held for up to 15 days without court hearings or access to lawyers.” Regardless of what the law technically says, however, the Chinese authorities can and do hold suspects for much longer periods of time, sometimes indefinitely. The reason is there is no independent judiciary to require them to release a person. The Chinese judiciary is subservient to the ruling regime and defers to its authority.

Moreover, the regime can and does torture prisoners. Again, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent this. The torture is oftentimes so brutal that some independent minded, courageous individuals who were were protesting come out of the prison process as broken people, ones whose minds have been fixed through brutal and tortuous reeducation.

Before the 9/11 attacks, that sort of thing could not happen here in the United States, at least not legally. If the government arrested someone, it was required to file formal written charges (e.g., an indictment) that would notify the person of what he was being charged with. He also would be entitled to a jury trial instead of judge trial or a tribunal trial. He had the right to an attorney to represent him. He also had a right to an independent judge. And no cruel and unusual punishments, such as torture. That’s all because our American ancestors had the wisdom to guarantee such rights in the Bill of Rights.

What if U.S. officials did to someone what the Chinese government has done to Simon Cheng. In that event, the Constitution enables him to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus, a right that stretches back several centuries in English history and which actually is a lynchpin of a free society. An independent federal judge orders the government to bring the person to court and show cause why he should not be released. At the habeas hearing, the judge orders the government to charge the person with a crime or release him. No indefinite detention, like there is China. And of course no torture.

All that came to an end with the 9/11 attacks. At that point, the national-security branch of the federal government adopted many of the same powers as the Chinese communist regime, and without any amendment to the Constitution. The military and the CIA, two of the principal elements of the national-security state, now wield the power to take anyone, including both Americans and foreigners, into military or CIA custody by simply labeling them a “terrorist,” hold them as long as they want in a military dungeon or secret CIA prison camp, torture them, and even assassinate them. While Americans still have the right to file a petition for habeas corpus, federal judges will customarily defer to the Pentagon and the CIA on their determination that a person poses a threat to “national security.”

This is what all too many Americans still don’t realize — that U.S. officials used the 9/11 attacks to destroy the freedom of the American people by adopting the same type of totalitarian powers that are wielded by the Chinese communist regime and other totalitarian regimes.

Want another example? As those of you who have been reading my articles for some time know, I have continually emphasized that America’s system of immigration controls has brought into existence a police state in the American Southwest. As part of this system, federal officials have been requiring American citizens to turn over cellphones and disclose their passwords so that officials can retrieve all of the information on the cellphone and make a copy of it. No warrant. No probable cause or even reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. Just raw omnipotent power to search the cellphone and, for that matter, the American citizen himself, including body cavities.

Now consider this excerpt from the NYT article:

Chinese border officers have stepped up checks on people crossing the border from Hong Kong. They have begun routinely searching the phones of people who enter the mainland from Hong Kong, apparently to identify people sympathetic to the protest movement and to prevent photographs or other information about the demonstrations from spreading to the mainland.

This is what all too many Americans simply will not permit themselves to consider: that the conversion of the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state ended up destroying their liberty and their privacy. Oh sure, Americans can easily recognize tyranny abroad but they just are unable to recognize it at home. At home, they see the tyranny as “freedom” and, even worse, express gratitude for it. Unfortunately, all too many Americans reflect the words of Johann Goethe: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:25 Tags Politics

Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years: Report

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 07:05
Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years: Report

Shortly before the Obama administration approved a deal granting Russia 20% of America's uranium, US intelligence agencies discovered that the Kremlin had "dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams," according to Yahoo News, which interviewed 50 current and former intelligence and national security officials. 

Part of the Russian Federation's riverfront compound on Maryland's Eastern Shore. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In September 2011, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of his third presidential campaign, only to be confronted during the following months by tens of thousands of protesters accusing him of electoral fraud. Putin, a former intelligence officer, publicly accused then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fomenting the unrest.

It was around this time that Putin’s spies in the United States, operating under diplomatic cover, achieved what a former senior intelligence official called a “stunning” technical breakthrough, demonstrating their relentless focus on the country they’ve long considered their primary adversary. -Yahoo News

Here are the core claims: 

  • Around 2012, US officials realized that Russians had massively breached the FBI's communications - including "hacking into computers not connected to the internet," and compromising the FBI teams' "cellphones outfitted with “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie capabilities" used as backup communications devices. 
  • "Russians were able to intercept, record and eventually crack the codes to FBI radio communications." 
  • The intelligence allowed Russian spies in American cities "including Washington, New York and San Francisco" key insights into how FBI surveillance teams were operating
  • The intercepted communications likely contained the "actual substance of FBI communications," and "opportunities to potentially shake off FBI surveillance and communicate with sensitive human sources, check on remote recording devices and even gather intelligence on their FBI pursuers."
  • "Mobile listening posts" were deployed in which "Some Russian intelligence officers, carrying signals intelligence gear, would walk near FBI surveillance teams. Others drove vans full of listening equipment aimed at intercepting FBI teams’ communications." 
  • The Russians could only crack "moderately encrypted communications," not the strongest types of encryption employed by the US government for sensitive transmissions. 
  • After the breach was discovered, the FBI switched back to encrypted radios - and "expensive venture" according to one former counterintelligence official. 
  • The revelations caused the CIA to curtail certain types of communications with overseas sources, and "had to resort to a whole series of steps" to prevent Russian eavesdropping. 
  • The Russians primarily operated out of government compounds in Maryland and New York - both shuttered by the Obama administration in response to 2016 election hacking allegations - played a central role in the espionage. They were "basically being used as signals intelligence facilities," according to the report - citing a former senior national security official. 

How did this happen?

According to the report: "A former senior counterintelligence official blamed the compromises on a “hodgepodge of systems” ineffective beyond the line of sight. “The infrastructure that was supposed to be built, they never followed up, or gave us the money for it,” said the former official. “The intelligence community has never gotten an integrated system.”

The limitations of the radio technology, said the former senior officials, led the FBI’s surveillance personnel to communicate on the backup systems.

Eventually they switched to push-to-talk cellphones,” said a former counterintelligence executive. “The tech guys would get upset by that, because if they could intercept radio, they might be able to intercept telephones.”

That is indeed what happened. Those devices were then identified and compromised by Russian intelligence operatives. (A number of other countries’ surveillance teams — including those from hostile services — also transitioned from using radios to cellphones during this time, noted another former official.)"

Fallout and damage control

In addition to embarking on sweeping and expensive technology upgrades, 'unnerved' US officials scrambled to shore up holes in our security - switching back to encrypted radios - an "expensive venture." 

Once the compromises of FBI communications devices were confirmed, U.S. officials scrambled to minimize the exposure of mobile surveillance team operations, quickly putting countermeasures in place, according to former senior officials. There was a “huge concern” about protecting the identities of the individuals on the teams — an elite, secret group — said the former senior counterintelligence official. U.S. officials also conducted a damage assessment and repeatedly briefed select White House officials and members of Congress about the compromise. -Yahoo News

"Anytime you find out that an adversary has these capabilities, it sets off a ripple effect," said one former senior national security official. "The Russians are able to extract every capability from any given technology. ... They are singularly dangerous in this area."

Mark Kelton, who served as the chief of counterintelligence at the CIA until he retired in 2015, declined to discuss specific Russian operations, but he told Yahoo News that “the Russians are a professionally proficient adversary who have historically penetrated every American institution worth penetrating.”

This remains a core worry for U.S. spy hunters. The number of ongoing espionage investigations into U.S. government personnel — at the CIA, the FBI and elsewhere — including those potentially recruited by Russia, “is not a little, it’s a lot,” said another former senior counterintelligence official. -Yahoo News

What's more, FBI officials were concerned that some of its assets had been compromised - consequently cutting off contact with some of its Russian sources. 

Meanwhile, some of the FBI's Russian sources stopped cooperating with their American handlers. "There were a couple instances where a recruited person had said, ‘I can’t meet you anymore," revealed a former senior intelligence official. 

"We didn’t understand that they were at political war with us already in the second term once Putin was reelected and Obama himself was reelected," said Obama's former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Evelyn Farkas (of "spilling the beans" Russiagate fame). 

Read the rest of the report here

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:05

San Diego State University Normalizes Pedophilia As A "Sexual Orientation"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 06:45
San Diego State University Normalizes Pedophilia As A "Sexual Orientation"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

San Diego State University is teaching students that pedophilia could merely be considered to be an alternative “sexual orientation.”

“An actual topic we discussed in class today at a State University after watching an 8 minute Vice News video showcasing self identified pedophiles. This is going to be mainstreamed,” tweeted Alex Mazzara.

The photo shows a presentation slide entitled ‘Pedophilia as a Sexual Orientation’.

An actual topic we discussed in class today at a State University after watching an 8 minute Vice News video showcasing self identified pedophiles. This is going to be mainstreamed.

— Alex (@alexjmazzara) September 13, 2019

It suggests that embracing pedophilia as an alternative sexual orientation could be part of the “acceptance of diverse sexual identities.”

The VICE video showcasing pedophiles may well have been their platforming of Todd Nickerson, a self confessed pedophile.

VICE’s article about Nickerson sympathetically portrayed him, an individual who openly admits wanting to molest children, as a victim of right-wing “vigilantes”.

Conservatives have been warning for years that the ultimate endgame of every fetish, gender identity and sexuality being not merely tolerated but endorsed would eventually be the mainstreaming of pedophilia.

We are now not far away from that very eventuality.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 19:45

Trump Seethes At NYT; Demands Resignation Of All Involved In "Kavanaugh SMEAR Story" And "Russian Witch Hunt Hoax"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 06:25
Trump Seethes At NYT; Demands Resignation Of All Involved In "Kavanaugh SMEAR Story" And "Russian Witch Hunt Hoax"

President Trump called for the resignation of everybody involved in a deceptive New York Times report containing a new sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh - while failing to mention that the alleged victim denies any memory of it, and that of the seven people who claim to have heard the story - just one of them recalls hearing that Kavanaugh's was the penis in question.

As we reported earlier Monday, while digging into an unsupported allegation by a woman named Deborah Ramirez that Kavanaugh waved his penis in her face during the 1983-1984 academic year at Yale, the Times's Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly claimed to have uncovered another alleged incident in which Kavanaugh's penis was thrust into a female student's hand.

A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.) -New York Times

However in their new book "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation"- which the article was basically a promo for at Kavanaugh's expense - the two yellow-journalists note that the woman has no memory of the incident

NYT Reporters’ essay about a supposed second Yale incident omitted their own book reporting that completely undercuts it: alleged victim denies any memory of it. Journalistically indefensible, though gullible additional reporters are spreading it of course.

— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 15, 2019

After The Federalist's Mollie Hemmingway and others pointed this out, the Times issued a major correction to what the National Review's John McCormack called "one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory." 

An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book's account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article. -NYT

And of course, many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates breathlessly called for Kavanaugh's impeachment before the Times issued their major correction.

In response, President Trump began furiously tweeting Monday morning in Kavanaugh's defense, writing among other things: "Just Out: “Kavanaugh accuser doesn’t recall incident.” @foxandfriends DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WILL DO OR SAY. They are looking to destroy, and influence his opinions - but played the game badly. They should be sued!"

Just Out: “Kavanaugh accuser doesn’t recall incident.” @foxandfriends DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WILL DO OR SAY. They are looking to destroy, and influence his opinions - but played the game badly. They should be sued!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2019

"I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story," tweeted Trump Monday afternoon, adding "while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony! They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation.

"She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!"

...She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2019

President Trump was not alone in his indignation as none other than The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board rushed out an angry op-ed blasting the left's "Attack on the Supreme Court":

"This is the most radical attack on the judiciary in decades. These aren’t crank voices like those posting “Impeach Earl Warren ” billboards in the 1950s. This campaign is led by the power center of the Democratic Party, including Members of the Judiciary Committee such as Ms. Harris who vet judicial nominations. Their attack on a core democratic institution is exactly what they claim President Trump is doing, but Mr. Trump is mostly bluster.

This assault on the judiciary is being carried out with conviction and malice, as the character assassination against Justice Kavanaugh shows. One motivation is that everything on the left’s new agenda, from the Green New Deal to a wealth tax, depends on favorable court rulings. The left is used to running the nation’s law schools and controlling the courts.

But the Senate has confirmed more than 150 judicial nominees since President Trump took office. And progressives would now rather attempt a hostile takeover of Article III courts than wait to win the old-fashioned way: at the ballot box.

The partisan relitigation of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation is an embarrassment to the country..."

Trump and Kav: 1, Fake News: 0

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 19:25

If You Think The Price Of Oil Is Skyrocketing Now, Just Wait Until The War Starts...

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 06:05
If You Think The Price Of Oil Is Skyrocketing Now, Just Wait Until The War Starts...

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

In the aftermath of the most dramatic attack on Saudi oil facilities that we have ever seen, the price of oil has exploded higher.  The Wall Street Journal is calling this attack “the Big One”, and President Trump appears to be indicating that some sort of military retaliation is coming.  Needless to say, a direct military strike on Iran could spark a major war in the Middle East, and that would be absolutely devastating for the entire global economy.  Just about everything that we buy has to be moved, and moving stuff takes energy. 

When the price of oil gets really high, that tends to create inflation because the price of oil is a factor in virtually everything that we buy.  In addition, a really high price for oil also tends to slow down economic activity, and this is something that we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  And if this crisis in the Middle East stretches over an extended period of time, it could ultimately result in a phenomenon known as “stagflation” where we have rapidly rising prices and weaker economic activity simultaneously. 

The last time we experienced such a thing was in the 1970s, and nobody really remembers the U.S. economy of the 1970s favorably.

The damage caused by the “drone attacks” in Saudi Arabia was immense.  According to the Daily Mail, “huge plumes of black smoke” could be seen pouring out of a key Saudi oil facility…

Infernos raged at the plant in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and the country’s second largest oilfield in Khurais yesterday morning after Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a flurry of rockets.

Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen coming from the oil facility.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have publicly taken responsibility for the attacks, but they may or may not be telling the truth.

At this point, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is completely rejecting that explanation, and he is claiming that there is “no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for coordinated strikes on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, saying they marked an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.

The strikes shut down half of the kingdom’s crude production on Saturday, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.

Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. But Mr. Pompeo said there was no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen.

And according to Reuters, another unnamed “U.S. official” told them that the attacks came from “west-northwest of the targets”…

The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets – the direction of Iran – not south from Yemen.

The official added that Saudi officials had indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.

Of course drones don’t have to travel in a straight line, and cruise missiles don’t either, and so we may never know for sure where the attacks originated.

But we do know that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are being backed by Iran, and we also know that the Shia militias in Iraq are also being backed by Iran.

So whether the attacks originated in Yemen, southern Iraq or Iran itself, it is not going to be too difficult for U.S. officials to place the blame on the Iranians, and we should expect some sort of military response.

In fact, President Trump posted the following message to Twitter just a little while ago

Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

Of course U.S. airstrikes against Iran itself could ultimately spark World War 3, and most Americans are completely clueless that we could literally be on the precipice of a major war.

According to the Saudis, the equivalent of 5.7 million barrels a day of oil production were affected by the attacks.  Saudi Arabia typically produces about 9.8 million barrels a day, and so that is a really big deal.

When the markets reopened on Sunday night, oil futures exploded higher.  In fact, according to Zero Hedge this was the biggest jump ever…

With traders in a state of near-frenzy, with a subset of fintwit scrambling (and failing) to calculate what the limit move in oil would be (hint: there is none for Brent), moments ago brent reopened for trading in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack on the “world’s most important oil processing plant“, and exploded some 20% higher, to a high of $71.95 from the Friday $60.22 close, its biggest jump since futures started trading in 1988.

As I write this article, the price of Brent crude is currently sitting at $66.89, although at least one analyst is warning that the price of oil could soon shoot up to “as high as $100 per barrel” if the Saudis are not able to quickly resume their previous level of production…

The oil market will rally by $5-10 per barrel when it opens on Monday and may spike to as high as $100 per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to quickly resume oil supply lost after attacks over the weekend, traders and analysts said.

Saudi officials have already told us that they anticipate that a third of the lost oil output will be restored on Monday.

But because of the extensive damage that has been done, restoring the remainder of the lost output could take “weeks” or even “months”.

In the short-term, President Trump has “authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve“, and that should help stabilize prices somewhat.

However, if a full-blown war with Iran erupts, nothing is going to be able to calm the markets.  In such a scenario, the price of oil could easily explode to a level that is four or five times higher than it is today, and that would essentially be the equivalent of slamming a baseball bat into the knees of the global economy.

The times that we are living in are about to become a whole lot more serious, but most Americans are not even paying attention to these absolutely critical global events.

In fact, even the mainstream media seems to believe that the new allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are more important.

That is because they don’t understand what is really happening.

Trust me, keep a close eye on the Middle East, because things are about to start breaking loose there in a major way.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 19:05 Tags Politics War Conflict

Explosion Hits Russia's Largest Virus Lab Which Houses Plague, Smallpox, Ebola And Other Deadly Viruses

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 05:50
Explosion Hits Russia's Largest Virus Lab Which Houses Plague, Smallpox, Ebola And Other Deadly Viruses

A sudden explosion at a Siberian virus research center on Monday reportedly left the facility engulfed in flames, according to several Russian news outlets. 

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the "Vector Institute" located several miles from Novosibirsk - an emergency which was upgraded "from an ordinary emergency to a major incident," according to RTdue to the research center for virology and biotechnology housed in the facility - however the mayor of Koltsovo said there were no biologically dangerous substances in the area where the explosion occurred, and that the Vector laboratory was not in use at the time. 

The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, also known as the Vector Institute, and which is located deep inside Siberia for a reason...

... is a biological research center in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia. It is analogous to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command. It has research facilities and capabilities for all levels of Biological Hazard, CDC Levels 1-4.

Of note, Vector is reportedly one of two places worldwide where smallpox is stored

The laboratory is known for having developed vaccines for Ebola and hepatitis, as well as for studying epidemics and genera issues surrounding immunology. During the Cold War, it was thought to be part of now-defunct Soviet biological weapons program, meaning that some of the most dangerous strains – including that of smallpox, Ebola, anthrax and certain plaguesare still being kept inside the Institute’s building.

With that in mind, a local branch of the Emergencies Ministry swiftly responded to the call, sending in 13 fire engines and 38 firefighters, who entered the six-story building minutes after arrival. -RT

According to, a gas cylinder exploded on the fifth floor of the six-story building while construction crews were working at the time, after which a fire broke out in an area approximately 100 square feet. One worker suffered second and third degree burns and was taken to a local hospital. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:50 Tags Disaster Accident

WeWait: WeWork IPO To Be Delayed Until October "At Earliest" As Roadshow Halted

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 05:33
WeWait: WeWork IPO To Be Delayed Until October "At Earliest" As Roadshow Halted

While it will hardly come as a surprise to anyone, especially after even its notorious sponsor SoftBank urged it to fade from the public's attention for a period of time, moments ago the WSJ reported that even as its bankers were adamant that things are proceeding according to plan, WeWork will postpone its initial public offering after investors questioned how much the company is worth (somewhere around $10 billion or lower, down from $47 billion just a few weeks ago) and had questions about its corporate governance.

What is more surprising is that according to various press reports, WeWork's IPO roadshow was supposed to begin as soon as today ahead of a trading debut next week. It now appears that is not happening and the most likely explanation is that after some preliminary canvassing of investor interest, there was none.

What this means is that as of today, WeWork is "likely to shelve the offering until at least next month, according to people familiar with the matter." Reading between the lines, it means that the IPO is effectively over - after all what will change in the next 2 weeks? Actually there is one thing that may salvage this IPO: Adam Neumann, the company's CEO, who is suddenly at least 3.6 roentgens radioactive, may depart. 

Then again, the window for money burning IPOs may be over: as we noted yesterday, after the WeWork debacle, and the Uber and Lyft IPO fiascoes, it is quite possible that the patience of investors who granted a post-IPO valuation of just under $200 billion...

... on companies that will burn through $12.5 billion next year...

... has finally run out.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:33 Tags Business Finance

If Truckers Stopped Working, Grocery Stores Would Run Out Of Food In 3 Days

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 05:25
If Truckers Stopped Working, Grocery Stores Would Run Out Of Food In 3 Days

Authored by Mac Slave via,

Because of the “bloodbath” ongoing in the trucking industry right now, it’s important to realize just how much Americans are dependent on trucking.

If truckers stopped working, grocery stores across the country would run out of food in just three days.

Trucking moves about 71% of the freight in the United States, according to the New Haven Register. That means that if the truckers in this country just stopped working, grocery stores would be out of food plunging the nation into an epic food crisis. It’s more important than ever to prepare yourself and your family for a possible food crisis.  Hunger will bring out the worst in humanity and ensuring you can provide enough will keep your mind at ease while others fight over the last can of corn.

“Without trucking, we would be naked, starving, and homeless,” Mike Robbins, a longtime trucker and leader of trucker strike group Black Smoke Matters, told Business Insider. And a study by the American Trucking Associations outlined what would happen if truckers were to stop working. The effects would hit hospitals, gas stations, ATMs, grocery stores, and even your garbage can.

Basic medical supplies, like syringes and catheters, would be at risk of running out. Medication for cancer patients that use radiopharmacuticals, which only have a life span of a few hours, would expire. –New Haven Register

This should highlight the importance of taking on a preparedness mindset.  If the grocery stores run out of food, what are your options?  A great majority of Americans have no idea how to grow or hunt their own food.  Others don’t think they need to have any stored food at all in case of a minor emergency such a blizzard or storm.

If you are lagging in your prepping, consider buying bulk dried beans already in buckets. An added bonus is that these buckets are stackable and easy to store. Beans are a staple in my personal prepping supplies because of their nutritional value and price. Plus, everyone in my family will eat beans.  Several brands offer beans in a sealed bucket that’s really easy to store. Augason Farms Pinto Beans Emergency Bulk Food Storage 4 Gallon Pail 253 Servings is offered at our local grocery store.  I have several different kinds of beans in our long-term food storage from this brand because of it.  The price is reasonable too.  This will run you about $60 and it’s similar on both Amazon and in the store. 

Beans are only one option. You can also buy kits that have 30-days worth of food in them, such as the Augason Farms 5-20091 Deluxe Emergency 30-Day Food Supply (1 Person), 200 Servings, 36,600 Calories, Net Weight 20 lbs. 7 oz.  Take the size of your family into account when buying.  If you’ve already started prepping, you might need more food, however, if you’re just starting, now is the time to make sure food and water are a top priority!

A food crisis can hit at any time, and it could be in the form of a massive storm rendering travel impossible or an escalated trucking industry “bloodbath.”

*  *  *

Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, has come up with over 300 “prepper” recipes for your emergency and long term food supply. The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals (Preppers) is an excellent resource and foundation that covers many topics of preparation. It is especially helpful for the seeker and the new-to-prepping, however, there are great ideas for even the seasoned prepper.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:25 Tags Hospitality Recreation

Blackface Incident Has Peaked Gucci, It's All Downhill From Here

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Tue, 2019-09-17 05:05
Blackface Incident Has Peaked Gucci, It's All Downhill From Here

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Gucci blackface sweater incident in February has likely peaked the luxury brand's sales and social media influence.

Data from Tribe Dynamics shows Gucci has been displaced as the top luxury company for social-media engagement in March, and by mid-summer, its quarterly sales plunged in North America.

In response, Gucci decreased its U.S. marketing last quarter to asses the fallout after the blackface incident that led to a social media backlash.

"We wanted to assess the evolution of the U.S. market, the reaction of the consumers after the issue we had in the U.S.," said Jean-Marc Duplaix, the chief financial officer at Kering/Gucci.

Gucci contributes 60% of Kering's revenue and 80% of the profit.

Investors started dumping Kering's shares in April after the fallout. By late July, the company reported a 2% decline in North American sales, which extended the selloff into a bear market by late August.

Gucci was quick to pull the sweater from shelves and online stores earlier in the year, led to the company hiring a chief diversity officer. The brand has taken a massive beating on social media, and celebrities posted videos of themselves burning Gucci clothing. Rapper T.I. even told his followers on social media to boycott the luxury brand.

Some in the fashion world are questioning whether Gucci and its star designer Alessandro Michele have peaked.

"As innovative as Michele is, his style is becoming a little bit stagnant," said Nicole Fischelis, who held positions as fashion director and creative director at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's before starting her own consulting firm.

Gucci sells overpriced products to millennials, such as $300 wallets, $1,590 sneakers and $5,000 dresses. Millennials are susceptible to the company's marketing thanks to social media and celebrity advertisement. Morgan Stanley estimates than nearly two-thirds of Gucci sales come from millennials.

Gucci has blamed some of its North American sales declines on a tourism slump in the U.S., where it derives at least 20% of its sales.

The Journal said Tribe Dynamics has warned that Gucci's social media buzz and quarterly earned media value is in rapid decay:

"Gucci was overtaken in March by Chanel in the Tribe Dynamics ranking, which uses a proprietary metric, known as earned media value, to quantify the influencer content and consumer engagement a brand gets on social media. Chanel benefited from the social-media buzz surrounding the death in February of its longtime designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

Gucci's earned media value fell by one-third in March from the previous month to $30.7 million. Chanel, which had an earned media value of $33.8 million in March, held the top spot again in April, lost it in May to Gucci and then won it back again in June with the two companies almost tied.

The drop in Gucci's North American sales comes on the heels of four quarters of declining growth and tracks the brand's waning social-media strength. Gucci in September 2017 hit an earned media value of $82.5 million, triple the $27 million it reached in July of this year, according to Tribe Dynamics. In the September 2017 quarter, Gucci sales rose 49% in North America."

The demise of Gucci has been quick and swift thanks to the power of social media. The trend in quarterly sales in North America is expected to plunge even further as larger macroeconomic deterioration in the global economy gains momentum and wanes on consumer sentiment.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:05 Tags Business Finance